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Fri 12th Mar 2021

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ULP regime – digging a hole to fill a hole for 20 years

The ULP regime’s Budget Estimates 2021 shows that the ULP regime is still digging a hole to fill a hole. For 20 years, the ULP regime has been borrowing millions of dollars to pay off millions of dollars of debt and in the process creating even more debt.

According to SVG Green Party Leader Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, the ULP regime does not have a head for finance and cannot competently manage SVG’s public finances. The ULP Regime 2021 budget is a big disaster with more heavy borrowing, pushing SVG into deeper poverty and destitution.

In the Budget Estimates 2021, the ULP regime is taking on over $247 million in debt as loans. This is hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that will need to be paid off by Vincentians’ blood, sweat and tears.

The Budget Estimates 2021 show that the ULP regime is wasting over $74 million just paying off interest and loan charges on debt. This $74 million that is being wasted on servicing debt is more than twice that is being spent on Vincentian children’s education and almost 3 times more than is being spent on health facilities in SVG. It is wasted money.

The Budget Estimates 2021 show that the ULP regime is wasting over $175 million on Amortization. (Amortization is chiefly used in loan repayments, with payments divided into equal amounts for the duration of the loan. A greater amount of the payment is applied to interest at the beginning of the amortization schedule, while more money is applied to principal at the end.)

This is a waste of $175 million and should be spent on educating our young people, providing better health services and creating jobs for our people. It is an insult to the people of SVG that the ULP regime is wasting over $249 million paying off debt in 2021, whilst at the same time borrowing over $247 million and increasing SVG’s debt by $247 million.

The ULP regime is like a dog chasing its tail. They are going around in circles, digging a hole to fill a hole. It is a display of financial incompetence of the highest order. For 20 years, the ULP regime has failed to create sustainable sources of revenue and just relied on begging and borrowing and plunging our country into horrendous debt.

In an address to the nation in 2015, Gonsalves, who is not a university graduate in finance, made an incredible statement: The Monetary Council has decided to extend the timetable to reduce our Debt/GDP Ratio to 60.0 per cent from 2020 to 2030.

This was an incredible statement in which Gonsalves told the people of SVG that, if Gonsalves and ULP regime were allowed to continue in government, they would plan for our country to continue to be poor and heavily indebted, so much so, that by 2030 the debt may only be reduced to a debt to GDP ratio of 60%.

One of the reasons given for extending the timetable to reduce our Debt/GDP Ratio to 60% from 2020 to 2030, was because it would require ‘prudent debt management’. The statement illustrated that the ULP regime is unable to achieve ‘prudent debt management’.

According to Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, when it comes to running our country’s finances and economy, SVG needs a mentality change. We must stop digging a hole to fill a hole.

We need sustainable sources of revenue and we can start doing this by taxing the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan and setting up a tuna fishing and canning industry. This will significantly reduce the high levels of unemployment, crime and poverty, and get money circulating the country and increase sales for businesses.

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